Shopping List of Essential Materials for Exterior Painting

gloved hand painting yellow paint on a white exterior wall with a small brush
  • 250-300
What You'll Need
Exterior paints
House wash
Roller, frame, tray and tray liner
Trim brushes
Trim guide
Pad painter
Paintbrush comb and roller cleaner
Wire brush
Safety goggles
Dust mask
Exterior spackling
Drop cloths
Caulk remover
Glazing compound
Masking tape
Razor knife
Razor blades
Paint remover
Rubber gloves
Disposable coveralls
Extension ladder
Step ladder
Paint hook
Extension pole
Power sprayer
Paint thinner/solvent
Paint sprayer

Nobody wants to get halfway through a project and then realize they don't have something they need. Make sure you have everything you need before you get started on your exterior painting project.

Other than the paint itself, these four items are the most important. Click "What You'll Need" for an even more detailed list.

1. Safe Ladder

You will likely need a later to paint the outside of your home. Before you use it, make sure you understand how to do so safely. Start by reading the label that comes with the ladder—it will have information like weight capacity and how to lock the ladder into place.

man on a ladder leaning against a building for exterior painting

You should also check the rungs of the ladder. Make sure they are all securely latched. While you are doing so, check to make sure there is no grease or water on any of the rings as this could cause you to fall later. You should also check the ground where you are placing the ladder to make sure it is level and dry. Do not put it somewhere that it could be knocked down by passers by.

2. The Right Paintbrushes

Before you begin, make sure to pick the best paintbrushes for your job. When you buy a new brush, precondition it. Tap the brush to remove loose bristles, then put the brush in linseed oil.

paint brushes over wood finish

Instead of simply throwing the paintbrushes into the trash or a storage unit when finished, make sure to take proper care of the brushes. Never let your brush soak in water overnight. This will make the bristles inflexible and hard to use. Different paintbrushes require specific cleaning methods.

For shellac brushes, you will have to put the brush in diluted ammonia or alcohol, and then rinse it with warm water. Stipple brushes need to be washed in either turpentine or benzene and then in warm water and soap. Calcimine brushes should be washed in cold water and then hung to dry.

3. Primer

Is primer necessary for painting the outside of your home? The answer is generally yes. Primer creates a better finish for the topcoat. This keeps your paint looking better for longer, eliminating the need to redo it right away. It also allows better coloring to come through.

paint brush and can with white paint on wood surface

Primer comes in oil and latex options. The latex primer is usually easier to apply and resists peeling better than its oil counterpart. Oil primers go deeper into wood, and should therefore be used on some lumbers.

Primer can be applied with a paintbrush. Start at the edges. Then, use a paint roller to paint the rest of the surface. Make sure to cover everything in an even coat of primer.

4. Sandpaper

Sanding a surface may not sound pretty, but it is necessary to ensure a smooth surface to paint over. Before purchasing sandpaper, make sure you understand sandpaper grit size. The lower the number, the coarser the sandpaper will be. Fine sandpaper grits are often used to prepare wood making fine sandpaper an excellent option for your painting project.

man using electric sander on white window frames

You can also choose between liquid and regular sandpaper. Liquid sandpaper is actually a chemical—while you can apply it on a surface you hope to paint, it will take off the gloss. Liquid sandpaper, or deglosser, is applied with cloth and left on per the manufacturer's directions. Once the time is up, wipe or rinse it off before applying paint.